Monday, July 11, 2011

Telescopic Philanthropy

One of the memorable characters seen in Charles Dickens' many novels is Mrs. Jellyby. The "telescopic philanthropist" of "Bleak House" who obsessed with bettering an obscure African tribe but having little regard to her duties as wife and mother; or the notion of charity beginning at home. She spiritually abandons her family to work on philanthropic project to help people far away who she has never seen. The Borrioboola-Gha venture is in deepest darkest Africa, the project ends in a most gruesome manner when a local African chief attacks the project base and sells all the volunteers into slavery and then uses the money to acquire rum. Sadly Mrs. Jellyby leans nothing from this starts another philanthropic project.

Mrs. Jellyby seems to care little for her husband and children. Her oldest daughter is worked constantly on philanthropic projects and sits bitterly her ink-spattered dress sinking deeper into bitterness and cynicism. The younger children are left to fend for themselves. And her husband sinks into a suicidal despair. Her own family or for that matter poor of London are of little interest to her. Sadly forgetting that one's first duty is to your own kith and kin is still a problem today.

Proverbs 31
"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil... She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life...She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens... She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy... She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness... Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."

Titus 2
"...teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."


  1. When you have the time, I would like you to address further, the attitude of hatred toward the Victorian period. If you will email me, I will be glad to send you some anonymous comments I never published, just to give you an idea of the widespread, sterotyped attitudes toward the era. Of course their arguments against the Victorians are full of holes, and it would use up all your space to argue these remarks into good sense. Almost every museam tour guide must tell people that "these paintings are not reality. In reality, Victorians were poor, worked in factories and died in childbirth." Just go visit the oldest cemetary in your area, and you'll find plenty of people who died at 100 years or over, including women. Why the perpetual hatred of the era? Because it was not as socialist as today, and the fathers were the heads of households, of businesses, owners of land and houses which they bequeathed to their descendents upon their death. With hatred of the Victorian era comes a hatred of the family structure, inheritance, private ownership and free enterprise.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I recently wrote a post about concentrating on my responsibilities at home that God gave to me instead of filling my head with the ills happening on the other side of the world and was horribly attacked by blog trolls because of it. I don't understand why so many people seem to have such a negative attitude towards people who want to live a quiet life, work with their own hands, and help those in their own life that God presents before them to help.